After the loss of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the whatever-the-hell-happened-to Georgia Satellites, and the whole Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines thing southern/country/folk rock hit a stride of leaving its huevos at home when recording; ultimately leaving it sterile and one dimensional.
Now in an Ash Williams-like glory, riding rolling licks, heavy composition and a slight two-step swagger, Nashville by way of Boulder, Colorado’s Down Home rise from the ashes of monotony, big trucks and twang to firmly plant their foot and take nothing short of victory. Heed these words: it is with the release of ten tracks titled Monrovia that faith in Nashville has been restored.
Jeff Estes (Guitarist, Lead Vocals), Robert Havill (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Stephen Hopkins (Bass/Vocals) and Griffin Criste (drums) deliver a world of road trips instead of planes, wooded hills instead of cities, and long summer days instead of busy commutes to stuffy offices via what I consider to be an all but lost form of American Rock. Plainly put, my god I am glad I found this album.
Monrovia feels new but warmly familiar. The sweeping tracks, passionate lyrics and sense of approach are nothing short of captivating. These guys immediately ensnared me with their web of boot-stomping rhythms but kept me coming back with their infectious style. They paint a rolling landscape through the rowdy opener “Cajun Queen” and the longing “Old 95.” They moved me with “Son Of Mine” and “Drink To Remember” but ultimately had me wrapped around their finger with “Broken Road.” To say “they just don’t make music like this anymore” sounds incredibly cliché, but Estes and crew have an old soul with fresh hands and the results are stunning.
If there were ever a chance to make a statement, a bold, unwavering statement, about how great a sound rooted in retro American rock can be reworked into something modern and fresh I eagerly submit Monrovia. I have no doubts this album will soar into, not only my best discovery of 2014 list, but the hearts and minds of fans of some good old Southern Rock style laced with Folk writing and boot-stomping good times.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. At any given moment you can find him listening to Southern Rock, drinking American beer and grilling something.